- Physician Services
- Patient Portal
- Bill Pay
- Gift Shop
- Contact Us
- Refer a Patient
- About Us
- Why Us?
- Patients & Visitors
- Conditions & Services
- Find a Clinician
Posted on: January 16, 2021
On-the-job injury is an unfortunate reality of the work environment. In the case of a minor injury, a short period of physician-directed rest and time off is enough to get the worker back on the job. If the injury is more severe, involves surgery, or there are complications, the recovery period can be much longer. Outpatient physical therapy can restore range of motion and strength to reduce functional limitations related to the injury. Sometimes so much time elapses that overall physical conditioning decreases to the point where returning to work might not be successful, especially with physically demanding jobs.
Work Rehabilitation can successfully bridge the gap between clinical rehabilitation of an injury and full return to work. This type of rehabilitation can be tailored to meet each client’s needs through part-time and full-time programs of Work Conditioning or Work Hardening.
Work Conditioning offers an extended therapy session 2-3 times per week for 2-3 hours per session, and addresses the physical side of returning to the workplace. This approach might be appropriate for an injured worker who has completed physical therapy for an injury but has a long way to go to meet the overall physical demands of his or her job. It is also useful for the worker who has returned to light duty work, and needs a little more strengthening to be able to return to full duty.
Work Conditioning typically lasts 3-6 weeks, but can be longer depending on the individual. The sessions are divided between traditional strengthening (fitness equipment and weights) and work simulation. These activities improve coordination, balance, and functional strength by simulation of common work tasks. This might include activities involving lifting, pushing and pulling, prolonged standing, stooping, or reaching overhead. Instruction on body mechanics is provided by the physical therapist and monitored during each session.
For the worker who needs more intensive rehabilitation, Work Hardening provides a highly structured, goal-oriented treatment program tailored to specific job requirements. It focuses on creating a work-like environment where tasks are designed to increase the tolerance for productive work. Safety and body mechanics are specifically addressed, as well as means for coping with any remaining symptoms from the original injury, such as pain. It also addresses work behaviors, such as keeping a schedule, work attire, and conducting oneself in a work-like manner. Traditional strengthening and conditioning are also included.
In Work Hardening, most strengthening is performed functionally, meaning workers perform simulated work tasks specific to their job descriptions. These tasks are graded according to strength, and increased steadily over the length of the program until goals are met or progress stops. The time commitment is much larger, as these programs will last 3-4 weeks for up to 7 hours per day. Sometimes up to 6 weeks is necessary to meet the heaviest physical demands, or if circumstances are unusual. The goal of Work Hardening is to achieve an acceptable level of productivity for returning to the former occupation or for meeting the demands of a specific new type of work.
Sheltering Arms is pleased to provide the work and medical community with this unique rehabilitation approach. Under the qualified supervision of Physical Therapists specializing in Industrial Rehabilitation, we can be the providers of choice for the final step in the process of return to work after a work-related injury.
To learn more about our Industrial Rehabilitation Services or to make an appointment, click the button below.
Copyright 2022 Sheltering Arms